So, you have an opening for a designer position. There are two ways you can go about filling it. You can go for a seasoned professional with years of experience and a huge portfolio. Or, you can find an active, still-learning-the-ropes student with just a couple of works to fill the opening.


Students have a somewhat mixed reputation among employers and recruiters. Some view them as potentially hard-working, creative, and highly adaptable employees. Others expect nothing but laziness and lack of responsibility and organization skills.


Today, let’s argue that hiring a student designer can be worth it. Here are five reasons why.


It’ll Be More Affordable for You

Let’s start with the obvious. Since students start with zero previous work experience, they can’t demand even the average salary in the industry. That means you’ll be saving on labor costs in the long run.


That said, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the skill set. You can still find a person with great hands-on design skills. Plus, students have soft skills like writing an argumentative essay that may come in handy. Other soft skills include presentation, public speaking, and collaboration.


Be warned, though: there’s a tradeoff, as always. You’ll need to invest in your new hire’s onboarding and work ethic and skill development; it’s an implicit cost.


Students Are Full of Novel Ideas

They haven’t spent years in the creative industry yet. So, they’re not bound by the unspoken rules of design. They think outside the box because they simply don’t know where the box is or what it looks like.


Most student designers are also on top of the latest trends in graphic design. They browse platforms like Dribble and Behance almost daily. At the same time, they’re not afraid to experiment to find an exceptional idea, style, or format.


What does this mean for you? In a nutshell, it means your team’s creative process will get a push from truly fresh, one-of-a-kind ideas. That translates into unparalleled final products.

They’re Driven & Motivated

Plenty of students want to gain real work experience instead of writing another opinion essay, and that’s especially true in graphic design. That’s because, in this field, your portfolio is what matters the most.


So, they’ll want to prove themselves worthy of a career in this industry. This makes them perfect new blood to reinvigorate your team. This passion can be contagious, and it can drive your team forward.


But apart from that, this passion means that your new hire will be working hard to showcase their skills and show you that you’ve made the right choice. So, essentially, you’ll be getting more for less.

They’re More Likely to Stick Around

Think about it. When you hire a student designer, you still need to show them the ropes. They probably know only in theory how to:


  • Work with briefs;
  • Comply with the brand book;
  • Collaborate with the brand manager or other designers.


Your other team members will need to bring your new hire up to speed. This means you’ll be investing their working time in developing the newcomer’s skill set. And they will not take it for granted.


Typically, retention rates are higher in the case of employees who were hired without or with very little experience. That’s because all the training and mentoring fosters loyalty in them. Staying with the company is a way for them to pay off that kindness.

You’ll Be Helping Them Get Started

As you may know, getting started in this industry can be tough. That’s especially true when you’re fresh and have only your college portfolio to show for your skills.


So, finally, let’s appeal to an altruistic reason to hire a student designer. That reason is that you’ll be helping them start their career in design. You’ll encourage and push them to become real professionals.


Most importantly, you’ll show them someone believes in them and their potential enough to give them a job. And that can be life-changing in and of itself.


In Conclusion: How to Hire Them Right

Are you convinced your next hire should come from the student pool? Great! But how do you go about it and make sure the hiring process is smooth and efficient?


Here are four specific tips for this kind of recruitment:


  1. Contact career centers. Look up colleges and universities in your area and contact their career centers. Describe the job you’re offering to them, and they’ll spread the information about it among their student body.
  2. Ask to see portfolios. Even a student designer should have a portfolio. It typically consists of their assignments and is somewhat limited. Still, it’ll give you an idea of what this or that person is capable of.
  3. Test candidates’ skills. Ask your shortlisted candidates to create a design according to a real-world brief. It’s going to be the best way to see how well they understand client requirements and follow them.
  4. Provide onboarding and mentorship. Remember: novices in the industry are like a blank canvas. So, think through how you’re going to mold them into your perfect employee.